Police investigate ‘swatting’ in Rosedale
This false call for alarm in Rosedale is only the latest in a number of similar incidents across the GTA.
The Toronto Police Service (TPS) was led on a wild goose chase last month when a prank phone call alerting officers to a shooting at a Rosedale mansion uncovered nothing but an empty home.
TPS received an emergency call just after midnight on July 13 directing them to a home at 61 Elm Ave., east of Mount Pleasant Road. The TPS Emergency Task Force was immediately dispatched.
Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash said officers did an online search for anyone in connection to the home, before entering, but were unsuccessful.
“We then gained entry, and there was nobody in there. There was no sign at all that anything as described had happened,” said Pugash.
Pugash confirmed TPS believes the call to be a hoax.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that it was not a legitimate call and it required us to deploy a large number of very valuable resources,” he said.
There have been similar incidents across the GTA where pranksters call 911 and report a fake crime in order to elicit a large-scale response by Toronto’s Emergency Task Force (a.k.a. the SWAT team). The hoax is commonly referred to as “swatting.”
Although Pugash noted the term has no legal basis, he said a prank of this nature is a very serious offense.
“It is extremely dangerous, not least if somebody else needs those resources and we’re delayed getting to them because we’re dealing with this,” he said.
TPS is investigating the origin of the call, but Pugash would not elaborate on what charge the individual responsible could face.
“We have to gather all the evidence to determine what the most appropriate charges are,” he said.